As part of the I.D. Hep C campaign, the AGA recently released results from a national online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive between April 9-13, 2012, of 1,006 baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) in the U.S. not previously diagnosed with hepatitis C. The survey found that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of baby boomers have never been tested or are unsure if they have been tested for hepatitis C and 80 percent do not consider themselves at any risk for having the disease. This lack of knowledge is worrisome because of the nearly 5 million Americans infected with hepatitis C, 82 percent are baby boomers.
In addition to a lack of knowledge, the survey showed a lack of action: 83 percent of boomers surveyed have never had a discussion with their health-care provider about hepatitis C, which is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Most boomers (83 percent) rely on their health-care providers to recommend tests they should have conducted and therefore are not initiating critical conversations about hepatitis C testing — discussions that could potentially save lives.
- Eighty-three percent of baby boomers don’t realize their generation is most likely to have hepatitis C. Instead, half (52 percent) believe all age groups have a similar likelihood and nearly one quarter (24 percent) think those in Generation X (ages 31-46) are more likely to have the disease.
- Fifty-five percent of baby boomers think every ethnic group has the same likelihood of having hepatitis C, even though African Americans and Hispanics are affected by hepatitis C at a significantly higher rate than the general population.
Fewer than one in five (18 percent) of boomers know that for many people, hepatitis C can be cured.